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Behind the Lens


Published 1940


Scientific and special-purpose cinematography helps reveal what would otherwise be invisible.


Run time 8:00
Producer Handy (Jam) Organization
Sponsor Chevrolet Division, General Motors Corporation
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W

Shotlist

No synopsis in Educational Film Guides.

Ken Smith sez: "A new era in motion pictures has been born!" proclaims the over-the-top Jam Handy narrator. "Now the camera is seeing things for science!"
Lots of photographic gimmicks are showcased in this film, including time-lapse photography of flowers blooming and high-speed photography of cats being dropped upside-down. We are told that the "camera of science" is "of tremendous importance in modern industrial research," and are shown "Schlieren photography," which "magnifies heat waves" and enables us to see the warmth of a handshake and the blatantly faked "smoke" of a kiss. Fast-paced, fun to watch, and with a bare minimum of pro-Chevrolet intrusion.

CINEMATOGRAPHY FILM CAMERAS LENSES VISION PERCEPTION INFRARED ULTRAVIOLET ADVERTISING VISUAL Photography Photography (technical) Photography (scientific) Theaters (motion-picture) Audiences Spotlights Searchlights Premieres (movie) Movie premieres Photography (infrared) Photography (Schlieren) Photography (slow-motion) Kisses Heat Somersaults Gymnastics Cats (twisting while falling in air) Gymnasts Cameras (motion-picture) Title cards ("The camera goes to college") Automobiles (Chevrolet) Automobiles (brakes) Chevrolet Motor Company (sponsor) Scientific apparatus Experiments Surrealism Jokes
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Reviews

Reviewer: Christine Hennig - - December 11, 2003
Subject: or Why Cats Always Land on Their Feet
This film starts out pretty interesting, as it shows us and tells us about special scientific kinds of motion picture photography, such as time-lapse photography and slow-motion photography. But since it is a Jam Handy Chevrolet film, it has to get around to cars eventually, and when it does, showing us how special photography is used by Chevrolet engineers to understand how cars withstand bumps in the road, it gets rather boring. Fortunately, though, its a short film, and that means the boring part is short, too.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.
Reviewer: Spuzz - - January 16, 2003
Subject: My My My, Aint science wonderful?
In this short, the very new (then) art of slow motion and heat photography are explored. One wonders how people must have felt when they first observed dandelions growing on the screen in front of their very eyes. A lot of trick photography is shown, and how they do it, and you've got to hand it to them for showing 'for the first time in motion pictures, the warmth of a handshake!"
Reviewer: feather - - October 14, 2002
Subject: Behind the Lens
not very informative, schlocky, cute.
a few interesting slo-mo shots
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